You are viewing blog items for June 2016.
posted by: HOPE not hate | on: Thursday, 30 June 2016, 18:54
HOPE not hate is deeply troubled to hear that at the launch of the Labour Party report into antisemitism within the party, a Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, was accused by a Momentum activist of being part of a media conspiracy against the party leadership.
The unfounded allegation that a Jewish person is part of some "media conspiracy" is precisely the type of anti-Jewish slur that was highlighted as unacceptable in Ms Chakrabarti's report. It is even more disconcerting to hear that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to contact Ruth Smeeth in the hours after this incident.
Ms Chakrabarti's report was intended to help the Labour Party address antisemitism. This incident, and the failure of the party leader to deal with it or reach out to person at the receiving end, shows that there is still a way to go. Ruth Smeeth has posted a statement of her own here.
Posted: 30 Jun 2016 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 27 June 2016, 14:30
Since the Brexit vote last Thursday, there have been a disturbing series of reports of racist incidents aimed at Polish, Muslim and other communities.
Social media channels have also witnessed an upsurge of hatred.
Let us be clear: such an outpouring of hate is both despicable and wrong. Whatever direction our country now chooses, a path towards intolerance and division is not in anyone’s interest.
Choosing a vote on our future on the European Union cannot be a green light for racism and xenophobic attacks and HOPE not hate demands action against the perpetrators.
Those who would choose to polarise our society should be called to task for their actions.
HOPE not hate will stand by those communities under attack. But at the same time the authorities and police must also bring the full force of the law to bear against those who seek to exploit the Referendum to promote an agenda or racial or religious hatred, or indeed any other form of discrimination.
We call on the Government to give some clarity and reassurance to EU migrants about their status in the UK and their future.
Now is the time for all of us to redouble our efforts to focus on that which unites, rather than divides; to think carefully about the society we wish to shape; and to realise that, no matter what happened last Thursday, we all need to live together.
Posted: 27 Jun 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 24 June 2016, 07:12
A short time ago, after a campaign tainted with racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it was formally announced that Britain had voted to leave the European Union. This is a seismic moment for our country and indeed Europe.
I worry that there is a real danger that the bitterly-fought contest could leave a lasting legacy of division in our country. We cannot allow this to happen.
As the nation looks towards a life outside the EU, we will need voices that champion our vision of Britain and supports those most at risk from any sort of xenophobic backlash.
That's why I'm asking you to join me in building HOPE not hate into an organisation capable to meeting the challenge.
One thing is sure. We cannot allow the toxic Referendum debate to spill over into local communities. Speaking to those from eastern and central Europe, and indeed other immigrants, over recent days it is clear that many are worried. They are uncertain about their future and concerned about a racist backlash.
Get involved to ensure this doesn't happen
But let's also be clear that we need to reach out to those areas which have been abandoned by mainstream politicians, particularly those in often de-industrialised parts of Britain. We need to offer an alternative narrative to those voices wanting to blame immigrants for all their problems, whilst also genuinely addressing people's real concerns.
Ultimately, we need to offer more positive channels for people to effect change in their local communities.
Over the next few weeks we are going to be organising meetings across the country to consult with our supporters and agree a plan.
Are you in?
Britain has spoken and now we need to stand together for the tolerant, diverse and multicultural society we want. We need to heal the rifts and try and bring communities together.
I won't lie, none of this is going to be easy, but the simple truth is that if we don't do it then no-one will.
HOPE not hate has prided itself with working in the most difficult of communities. Now we are fighting for our entire country.
HOPE not hate has never been so needed. Please join us
Posted: 24 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 19 June 2016, 07:36
We have been overwhelmed by the support the public has shown both to Jo Cox’s memory and in so generously donating to support the work of Royal Voluntary Service in Batley and Spen, the White Helmets in Syria, and ourselves.
To be honest, we are all still coming to terms with this dreadful killing and the wider, uglier ramifications it appears to represent. Our thoughts remain with Jo’s husband Brendan, and their two young children, at this dark and terrible time.
Whatever funds we receive from donations in Jo’s memory will be used to support our work in exposing and combatting extremism, and in strengthening our many regional projects and teams to foster greater dialogue and understanding between (all-too-often) divided local communities.
In particular, we will launch a campaign this summer to heal some of the divisions in society that have opened up during the increasingly toxic and bitter Referendum campaign.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you – new supporters and old – and to remind you that there are far more good and decent people out there than there haters; that there is far more that unites us than divides, even at times of great change.
We will, as Brendan Cox so poignantly wrote on the eve of Jo's death, fight with renewed vigour against the very hatred that killed her.
Posted: 19 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 17 June 2016, 17:52
As I write this, I’m still reeling in shock and horror at the murder of Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, who was so brutally killed yesterday. I had been sharing drinks with her husband, Brendan, only the night before. Now he is a widower and their two young children face life without a mother. I find it hard to imagine their pain.
But as much as I feel pain, I also feel anger. How dare someone snuff out such a bright voice of hope in this manner? A principled and passionate MP, who championed women’s and refugee rights. What gives the killer the God-given right to make this choice? Jo, a former head of policy at Oxfam, had a bright future as both a mother and a Member of Parliament. Now that’s all gone.
There is much speculation about Jo’s killer, Tommy Mair, 52, who shot and stabbed her multiple times outside a constituency meeting in Birstall, near Leeds. That Jo had received hate mail in the months before her death; that police were (apparently) considering offering her protection. What we do know is that while her killer Mair may have had a history of mental illness, it appears he also had a 30-year long relationship with far-right groups, stretching back to the 1980s.
He is alleged to have shouted “Britain first” multiple times during the attack. Britain First is the name of a far-right organisation, led by a former British National Party (BNP) extremist, that invades mosques and carries out provocative stunts in Muslim communities “in the name of Christianity”. There is nothing Christian about this vile hate group, which has its ideological roots in the extremes of Protestant Loyalism as well as violent far-right organizations.
Mair was a subscriber to S. A. Patriot, a South African magazine published by White Rhino Club, a pro-apartheid group. The club describes that magazine’s editorial stance as opposed to “multi-cultural societies” and “expansionist Islam.”
Our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center in the USA have reported that Mair was a long-time supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, purchasing over $600 (£420) of items, including instructions on how to build a gun.
Run until his death by Professor William Pierce, the National Alliance was once one of the most powerful neo-Nazi organizations in the world, controlling a music business, selecting and training cadres, and being linked to numerous killers, including ‘The Order,’ a group that killed Jewish radio host Alan Berg and carried out bank robberies and counterfeiting.
Pierce also wrote The Turner Diaries, about a fictional white uprising that led to the nuclear destruction of Israel. In it, he described a truck bombing almost identical to the Oklahoma bombing of 1995: later, Timothy McVeigh would carry out his bombing, killing 168 (including 19 children). A copy of The Turner Diaries was found in the trunk of his car.
Nick Griffin, the former British National Party (BNP) leader, took quickly to Twitter to claim that the Remain camp in the EU Referendum would seek to exploit Jo Cox’s death. Griffin’s sickening cynicism knows no bounds: after all, it was in his former party that the London nailbomber David Copeland, another disturbed loner, found his home.
Copeland went on to kill three people, including a pregnant woman, as well as injure hundreds more in April 1999 in 13 days of attacks against the black, Asian and gay communities in London, culminating in the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho.
After that attack, Griffin wrote about gay commemoration of the victims, claiming: “The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive.”
More recently, in January 2015, a Sikh dentist had his hand almost hacked off by another white supremacist attacker, Zack Davies, in a supermarket in north Wales. Davies, linked to a neo-Nazi group called National Action, thought his victim was Muslim and screamed during his attack: “This is for Lee Rigby”—referring to the off-duty soldier murdered in 2013 by two Muslim extremists in Woolwich.
Already other far-right groups are crowing at Jo Cox’s death. Yet this isn’t only a sad tale of lone misfits. Jo’s killing took place in one of the most febrile atmospheres that, as a seasoned anti-racism campaigner, I’ve ever known. The EU Referendum seems to have brought out the worst in our nation, not the best, with claims made daily about immigration and constant demonizing of immigrants.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage unveiled a poster featuring Syrian refugees heading into Slovenia last year, titled “Breaking Point”—as though these refugees were all heading to the UK (they weren’t). He has spoken about immigrants as sexual predators, while others have claimed that 76 million Turks are coming to the UK if we remain inside the EU. And it’s not just far-right populists who have made these claims: scare stories abound about the threat that immigration poses to our nation, almost blinding everything else (whipped on by a coarse and virulent press).
The far right often slams the same “liberal and cultural elite” that press and populist politicians like to blame for the nation’s ills. Anders Breivik invoked the spectre of “cultural Marxists” as a reason for his targeting not of ethnic minorities, but the 77 young Norwegian Labour Party activists he slew in Norway in 2011.
Those who stoop low, who use the language of hate and stir the fires of resentment in order to win votes, need to accept responsibility for what they do. Whilst the killer is alone to blame for his killing, we as a society need to think about our actions too.
As Jo’s husband Brendan wrote yesterday, in an unbelievingly poignant note: “She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek Europe
Posted: 17 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 16 June 2016, 10:46
I am writing in shock and sadness. I've just learned that Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, has died after being shot and stabbed by a lone attacker today outside her constituency surgery.
I am sure that you, like me, are utterly numb at this senseless killing.
Our hearts go out to Jo's family, including husband Brendan and their two children, at this awful time.
Jo Cox was a brave and passionate MP, who championed refugee & women's rights, campaigned against modern slavery, and was a former head of policy at Oxfam.
More recently, Jo had been a strong campaigner to keep Britain in the European Union.
While it does appear that her killer was possibly a far-right activist, questions over his connections and motives can wait for another day.
For now, difficult as it is, our thoughts have to be focused on keeping the memory alive of a principled and much-loved woman, who stood up so passionately for what she believed.
And the best way to do that is for us all to redouble our efforts to challenge hatred, prejudice and intolerance wherever we encounter it.
Yours in sorrow,
Nick and the HOPE not hate team
Posted: 16 Jun 2016 | There are 12 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Taranjit Chana | on: Monday, 13 June 2016, 12:17
Guest blog by Taranjit Chana, a leading HOPE not hate supporter in London.
Our thoughts are with those who were killed and injured in Orlando, Florida.
There are no words to express the sadness, pain, and anger. This horrific act of homophobic violence is a reminder that we (the LGBT + community) and our allies has, is and will always be a target for haters globally, haters who will kill. Hating people for who they are is wrong. We must all come together, in solidarity against the haters and ensure that hope always triumphs.
There will be a vigil tonight at 7pm in Old Compton Street:
Chair of GMB Race Equality London
Posted: 13 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Joe Mulhall | on: Monday, 13 June 2016, 11:12
While the debate around the EU referendum was always likely to get nasty, the rhetoric around immigration and migrants emanating from some in the Leave camp started off in the gutter and has descended into the sewer.
Unsurprisingly it is Nigel Farage who is enthusiastically leading the charge down the drain. His demagogic nature was once again laid bare last week when he claimed that staying in the EU could lead to Cologne-style sex attacks on a mass scale.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, rightly condemned his comments stating:
That's giving legitimisation to racism… we can't legitimise that, […] Fear is a pastoral issue - deal with it by recognising it, standing alongside and providing answers to it. What that is is accentuating fear for political gain and that is absolutely inexcusable.
Of course Farage’s latest comments are by no means the first or only example of some in the Brexit camp stoking up fear and playing on prejudice. Michael Gove, for example, has suggested that a migrant influx equivalent to the population of Scotland will put ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS if we don’t vote to leave.
However, it is the possible entrance of Turkey into the EU that has been at the forefront of the Leave messaging. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have been deliberately misleading the British people over the issue of possible Turkish migration, in the full knowledge that Turkey will not be joining the EU in the near future.
Clearly seeing political capital in stoking up fear about the possibility of 76 million Muslim Turks upping sticks and heading to Britain, they have plastered the UK with posters disingenuously stating: ‘Turkey (population 76 million) Is Joining the EU’.
Not content with merely claiming millions of Turks are poised to the head to the UK the Leave camp has claimed that these possible future migrants are a threat to national security because of supposed higher levels of criminality among Turkish people.
Fostering prejudice and fear in this manner is dangerous and divisive. The fact that intelligent and articulate politicians like Johnson and Gove are peddling it while knowing it is untrue is nothing short of contemptible.
With the debate so marred by racism it is no surprise that elements from within the British extreme-right have found a home in the Leave campaign. Members of the English Defence League, British National Party and the National Front have all been involved in Vote Leave activity.
Such tactics have proved very upsetting for those in the Brexit camp who abhor racism. Khalid Mahmood, a Labour MP who supports a withdrawal from the EU, has previously spoken out on the issue. He told BBC2’s Newsnight: ‘Everybody on the Leave campaign was trying to hit the racist issues,’ and that ‘…Vote Leave decided they were going to concentrate on immigration on a very, very negative basis and try and frighten people away on the issue of migration.’
Mahmood is not alone among those who want to leave the EU in being upset by such ugly and divisive tactics. Unfortunately, some on the Remain side of the debate have ignored this nuance and have irresponsibly and unhelpfully sought to paint all those who want to leave the EU as racist ‘little Englanders’.
Immigration was always going to be a central issue during this referendum and that is not (as some in the Remain campaign might like to believe/portray) solely because of the racist agenda of some ‘out’ campaigners. It is also a major concern for millions of ordinary people. Whether or not one agrees with those concerns, the fear that many feel is real and driven by a whole plethora of factors.
There is a strand of intellectual laziness being displayed by some in the Remain campaign and aspects of the British left, who seem to think that because Nigel Farage and a coterie of unsavoury xenophobes want to leave the EU this invalidates it as an option. This is nonsense. Many who want to leave the EU are equally appalled by the racism of some Brexit activists but have reached their decision after treading a more progressive path; one trod before them by left wing Eurosceptics such as the late Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Bob Crow.
Remaining inside or leaving the EU is not a left-right issue. Painting all who want to leave the EU as right-wing, racist, xenophobic or reactionary is either disingenuous or blind ignorance. This is not an easy choice and anyone who says it is has not thought about it enough.
What could have been a chance to fire up a generation of young voters by giving them a say over their futures, following a lively, passionate and informed debate, has descended into an unedifying squabble, marred by racism, driven by fear and fought out between two camps whose own intellectual laziness is only matched by their seeming contempt for the intelligence of the British public.
There have been laudable exceptions – Gordon Brown’s impassioned and heartfelt video for the Peoples In campaign, for example – but generally the debate so far has been a sad spectacle. With less than two weeks left until the referendum it is imperative that we challenge and condemn the racist tone that parts of the Leave campaign have adopted. We must drive the debate from the sewer back onto the high ground.
Want the facts? See: http://bit.do/eu-facts
Joe Mulhall is research editor at HOPE not hate @JoeMulhall_
Posted: 13 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: John Page | on: Sunday, 12 June 2016, 18:01
On Saturday night in Florida a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub and killed 50 people, with a further 53 injured.
It is too early to speculate about the full nature of the hatred that provoked this mass murder, but it is self evident that it was homophobic.
In the context of advances in the United States in equality legislation for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities, some politicians have been fuelling homophobia. Whether there is a direct link between their statements and the motives of this particular crime it is too early to say.
For now, we send our tears and prayers to the people of Orlando, and the LGBT communities across the world, and we pledge to work even harder to challenge hatred, including when it finds expression in the otherwise mainstream of politics.
Posted: 12 Jun 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments